As of today, the keynote speakers are:
Professor Alan Baker, DSc
Agromining: farming for metals and valorization of metal-contaminated lands
Alan Baker was Professor of Botany at The University of Melbourne, Australia until July 2008 when he retired. He headed the Applied Ecology Research Group and remains an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of BioSciences whilst now resident in the UK. He was awarded the DSc degree by The University of Sheffield in 2009 where he is also an Honorary Professorial Associate. He also holds the post of Honorary Professor in the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation (CMLR) at The University of Queensland, Australia and is Visiting Professor, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China, 2011-, and Visiting Professor, Laboratoire Sols et Environnement and LABEX21 Ressources, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France, 2014-. Professor Baker’s research career has centred on the interactions of plants with soils and sediments contaminated with heavy metals, either naturally through mineralization, or as a result of anthropogenic pollution. Long-term research has focused on ecological and physiological aspects of heavy metal tolerance, toxicity and uptake in plants, and in particular the mechanisms of metal accumulation and tolerance in temperate and tropical species of metallophytes. Major themes are the ecology of nickel-hyperaccumulating species from ultramafic soils, zinc and cadmium hyperaccumulation. These lines of research have led him into a number of applied fields including geobotanical and biogeochemical techniques for mineral exploration and reconnaissance, revegetation of toxic metalliferous wastes, pollution biomonitoring, problems of environmental health arising from trace element contamination of the environment, removal and stabilization of metals and metalloids from contaminated land and sediments using biological approaches. He is a pioneer in the development of phytomining and strategies for the conservation of biodiversity at mining sites. He has served on the Advisory Panel of the IUCN-ICMM Post-Mining Alliance, and is Technical Director for the Centre for Contaminant Geoscience of the Australian consulting/contracting group, Environmental Earth Sciences International Pty Ltd., Sydney. In addition to extensive work experience in Europe, Australasia and the USA, he has worked in many developing countries including The Philippines, Thailand, New Caledonia, Sri Lanka, India, PR China, DR Congo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile and Mexico. He is the author/co-author of 200 original scientific papers and articles [h-index 56 +1], 33 chapters in books and 250+ conference abstracts and has 3 shared patents. In October 2008 Professor Baker was awarded the Milton Gordon Award from the International Phytotechnology Society for 'a distinguished career in teaching, research, and applications of phytoremediation.
Professor Barbara Zeeb, PhD
Phytoremediation in Canada: From theory to teaching to practical applications
Dr. Barbara Zeeb received her PhD from Queen’s University, Canada in 1994. She joined the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in 1996 to co-ordinate environmental research projects, supervise graduate students, and manage environmental projects at numerous active and abandoned military installations across Canada. In 2004, Dr. Zeeb accepted a faculty position at RMC in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering where she was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Biotechnologies and the Environment, and became a full professor in 2008. Over the last two decades, she has been involved in multidisciplinary phytotechnological studies to remediate metal-, organochlorine-, petroleum hydrocarbon, and salt-impacted sites in collaboration with government agencies and contaminated site owners. Dr. Zeeb is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology and cross-appointed to the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University.
Terrence Bell, Dr
The phytobiome: a looming revolution for plant-based technologies?
Dr. Terrence Bell was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at The Pennsylvania State University in February 2017. He is also a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University, where he used next-generation sequencing of soil microbiomes to investigate bioremediation of petroleum contaminants in the Arctic. Before starting his current position, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Biodiversity Centre in Montreal on the Genome Canada funded project GenoRem, and then as an Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University. As part of GenoRem, he worked within a multi-disciplinary team that used emerging genomic approaches to better understand willow-microbe-contaminant relationships in the context of phytoremediation. His current interests include interactions between plants and microbiomes in agricultural settings, and he continues to work with collaborators at Cornell and Penn State on willow-associated microorganisms. Specifically, his group is exploring new methods for modifying and shaping plant-microbiome relationships to enhance plant productivity.
Michel Labrecque, Adjunct professor
Willows: number one tool for phytotechnology
Michel Labrecque is Curator of the Montreal Botanical Garden and Head of the Garden’s Research and Scientific Development division since 1997. He is also adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Université de Montréal. Specialized in ecophysiology, He is interested in the physiological and molecular aspects of phytoremediation. Over the past decades, he has led numerous studies in Quebec and with international collaborators that investigated plants' ability to absorb or degrade contaminants. His research finds applications in the rehabilitation of brownfields, wastewater treatment or management of agricultural effluents. A prolific scientist, he has published more than a hundred scientific papers and delivered over 150 presentations at national and international conferences, often as a keynote speaker. Prof. Labrecque has directed or co-directed close to 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He chaired the 4th International Symposium on the Tree (2000) and the International Workshop on Environmental Applications of Willows and Poplars (IPC FAO, 2007). He is also co-founder of the Quebec Society of Phytotechnology (2007). Well-known for his communication skills, he has given over 300 media interviews. He chairs this 14th International Phytotechnologies Conference.